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Elk Head CONSERVATION
Native fish, wildlife and their habitat
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The Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund (OCRF)?

The Legislature challenged Oregonians to demonstrate support for fish and wildlife conservation by generating $1 million for the new OCRF. Successfully meeting this goal is a first step in pursuing long-term, dedicated funding for proactive protection and enhancement of all of Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Donate by visiting myOWF.org/OCRF

The Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund (OCRF) is a dedicated account in the State Treasury that is continuously appropriated to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to carry out actions to protect, maintain, or enhance fish and wildlife resources in Oregon.

Are we going to need to do this again next year?

The intent of the Department is that this fundraising campaign will be a one-time request. If we are successful, we hope to pursue a dedicated funding mechanism that supports the OCRF.

Where is the money for this OCRF coming from?

House Bill 2829 appropriated $1 million from the general fund for the OCRF if, and only if, ODFW matches it with $1 million from private sources. ODFW is working with the Oregon Wildlife Foundation to ensure we meet that goal.

Fundraising is time sensitive.  We must raise the matching $1 million by Dec. 31, 2020. The Legislature also mandated that all moneys in the OCRF be obligated or expended by June 30, 2021. The Conservation & Recreation Advisory Committee will establish a process for accepting proposed projects and will accept proposals starting in early 2020. Learn more here: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/OCRF/

How can I donate to the Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund?

It’s easy! There are three ways to donate:

  • Contribute online (https://www.myowf.org/ocrf) through the Oregon Wildlife Foundation
  • Send a check to: Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund, c/o Oregon Wildlife Foundation, 901 SE Oak St, Suite 103, Portland, OR 97214.
  • Add a donation to your purchase through ODFW’s Electronic Licensing System. A box to enter your donation amount will appear at the top of you checkout screen.

Why is now the time to become a contributor?

Supporters of fish and wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation, and improving access to nature for all people are being challenged by the legislature to demonstrate their support with financial contributions! Now is the time for Oregonians to weigh in on an ongoing pursuit of more diverse and sustainable funding for Oregon’s fish and wildlife.

In 2015, the Oregon State Legislature created a Task Force (HB 2402) on Funding for Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education, charged with developing funding solutions for fish and wildlife conservation in Oregon, while also enhancing outdoor recreation and education opportunities.

The Task Force included individuals affiliated with a broad array of outdoor groups and interests. The first step recommended by the Task Force’s Report was to establish the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund. Representative Ken Helm introduced HB 2829 to create the OCRF, which subsequently passed in the spring of 2019. But, we are not finished. The legislature set up a challenge that requires all supporters of conservation & recreation to show their support with a financial contribution!

Can my contribution support a specific project?

Yes, donations to the OCRF can include conditions that support specific projects or programs. Agreements for these donations should be made with the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will also identify high priority actions for which they will seek contributions.

How is a contribution to OCRF different from contributions I make with a purchase of other products from the ODFW Catalogue?

Standing up for the Conservation & Recreation Fund is a first step towards a more comprehensive approach to funding protection and enhancement of ALL of Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for ALL Oregonians.  For more than 100 years, ODFW has relied on funding from hunters and anglers to appropriately manage populations that are harvested in the state. The threats to Oregon’s fish and wildlife have become more complex through time and the OCRF recognizes that all Oregonians should have a role in finding solutions to those conservation issues.

Shouldn’t my tax dollars be supporting healthy fish and wildlife populations?

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s budget is only 10% from your tax dollars. A majority of the Department’s revenue is from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Meeting the challenge of fundraising for OCRF is an important way to demonstrate to the legislature that you, as Oregonians, want to be contributing at a higher level.

What are the deadlines associated with the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund?

HB2829 set up a sunset date for this program of July 1, 2021. Funds must be deposited and obligated for projects before that date. Functionally, the deadline for generating $1 million for the OCRF will be December 31, 2020, which leaves six months for the Advisory Committee to finish obligating funds to important conservation and recreation projects.

What happens if we do not meet the fundraising goal this biennium?

HB2829 established an ambitious timeline for generating $1 million. If we are unable to deposit $1 million from private sources in to the OCRF, $1 million in general fund dollars will be returned to the general fund. Donations made through the Oregon Wildlife Foundation that do not add up to $1 million will either be returned to donors or redirected to projects that meet the intent of HB2829.

Do funds in OCRF need to be spent by the end of the biennium (July 1, 2021)?

The Conservation & Recreation Advisory Committee and the Fish and Wildlife Commission must approve expenditures from the OCRF before July 1, 2021 and ODFW will have six more months to make sure the funds go to that purpose.

Do projects need to be completed by the end of the biennium (July 1, 2021)?

No, HB2829 requires that funds be expended, obligated, or subject to other conditions by July 1, 2021. Thus, the Advisory Committee may choose to obligate funding to projects that start or finish after that date.

Can organizations other than ODFW access OCRF?

Yes! The Task Force recommendations included a financial request to boost capacity within ODFW to interact with and serve Oregon’s public, landowners, and nonprofit organizations as well as other state, federal and tribal entities. Recognizing that HB2829’s short timeline does not build such a capacity, ODFW expects that most of the OCRF dollars will be distributed to important partners who are doing the work of implementing Oregon’s Conservation and Nearshore Strategies and broadening access to Oregon’s outdoors.

What kinds of work will the OCRF support?

The new Oregon Conservation & Recreation Advisory will make recommendations for expenditures from the OCRF. ODFW staff intends to recommend projects that implement the Oregon Conservation and Nearshore Strategies and connecting Oregonians to the outdoors.

A broad swath of priorities for improving ODFW’s ability to meet its mission were identified by the legislative Task Force in 2016. The types of projects that could be funded include:

  • Community science, research, and monitoring projects that engages Oregon’s outdoor recreationists to fill data gaps related to Conservation Strategy Species and Habitats;
  • Efforts to restore ecosystems to resiliency;
  • State-wide investments in vital analyses and new tools for prioritizing where conservation projects will have the most impact;
  • New wildlife viewing opportunities and facilities.

The full list of recommendations was approximately $87 million per biennium.

Will this new funding source affect the way my voice is heard by fish and wildlife decision makers?

Many of the formal hunting and fishing organization have been supportive of pursuing alternative funding for the Department. The Department’s mission is to “protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.”  This mission directs the Department to serve all Oregonians and decision-making by the Department is driven by the best interest of Oregon’s fish and wildlife.

What is the Oregon Conservation & Recreation Advisory Committee (Committee)?

The Committee is a small group of Oregonians that will convene to advise the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on expenditures related to the OCRF. The Committee was created by the legislature in 2019 and members were appointed by the Governor in January 2020. There are three at-large members of the committee and six members representing Ecoregions around the state. One member of the Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation will participate as ex-officio members of the Committee.

What is the Committee’s role?

The Committee will:

  • Review ODFW policies on use of OCRF moneys.
  • Make recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and ODFW on use of OCRF moneys.
  • Submit a biennial report to the Legislative Assembly on expenditures of moneys deposited in the OCRF and the status of various activities funded by the moneys.

What is expected of Committee Members?

Committee members are expected to:

  • Attend a minimum of three in person meetings a year beginning in early 2020 and continuing through at least June 30, 2021. Meetings may be in various locations around the state.
  • Prepare for meetings by reviewing materials, considering project proposals, and considering potential recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
  • Become familiar with the Oregon Conservation Strategy and the stakeholders of both the OCRF and ODFW.

Will Committee members be paid?

Members will not be compensated for their time and participation, but will be reimbursed for actual and necessary travel and other expenses incurred in the performance of official duties.

What positions are available on the Committee?

The Committee has three Oregon-at-large members and six who live in and possess demonstrable scientific expertise related to the:

  • Nearshore or Coast Range Ecoregions
  • Willamette Valley Ecoregion
  • Klamath Mountains Ecoregion
  • Columbia Plateau or Blue Mountains Ecoregions
  • Northern Basin and Range Ecoregions
  • West Cascades or East Cascades Ecoregions

The Ecoregions referenced for the six specific positions are specific areas of the state defined in the Oregon Conservation Strategy. At-large positions shall have an interest in fish and wildlife conservation or outdoor recreation, especially wildlife-associated recreation such as wildlife viewing, nature photography, nature tourism, outdoor education, or community science.

What background, skills, or experience should members of the Advisory Committee possess?

  • Demonstrable scientific expertise related to one of the Ecoregions of the state of Oregon.
  • Interest in fish and wildlife conservation.
  • Interest in outdoor recreation, especially wildlife-associated recreation such as wildlife viewing, nature photography, nature tourism, outdoor education, or community science.
  • Experience engaging youth, underserved communities and diverse audiences, such as communities of color, tribes, and low-income communities in conservation and recreation activities.
  • Interest in the economic, social, and educational benefits of healthy ecosystems.

How can I learn more about the Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund or the Oregon Conservation & Recreation Advisory Committee?

Contact odfw.ocrf@state.or.us or visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/OCRF/

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